Hanga Ahazaza is a $50 million, five-year initiative focused on increasing employment opportunities for young people while expanding the tourism and hospitality sector in Rwanda.
Growth in Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector is a key national priority. It’s vital to reducing poverty, improving youth employability, and moving the nation to middle-income status. The sector will have or create an estimated 151,000 jobs by 2030.
Hanga Ahazaza will equip 30,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition into jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Young people will receive training in communications, customer service, ICT, and digital literacy skills.
Hanga Ahazaza will also support entrepreneurs with small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and business development skills training so that they can create new employment opportunities for young people.
“Hospitality is an open-door opportunity that provides youth with the skills and goals they need to thrive while at the same time contributing to Rwanda’s economic development… As youth, we need to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and not only think of becoming job-seekers – you also need to have the mindset and responsibility to create jobs.”
Gisele Ikuzwe, Student, Vatel Rwanda: Gisele is pursuing a Bachelor in International Hotel Management at Vatel Rwanda.
As part of Hanga Ahazaza, Vatel Rwanda is providing internationally recognized degree programs in hotel management.
“Some parents do not understand the nature of work shifts in the hospitality sector. Sometimes this means leaving work at 2 a.m. People questioned my behaviour. I chose not to dwell on this as long as I love my job. I wonder why people don’t question doctors who also work late shifts?
Hospitality is a passion, and I am not discouraged by these perceptions because I have a lot of potential in what I do. My dream is to become a general manager of one of the best hotels in the world, and through working hard and gaining skills and knowledge about the sector, I can make it.”
Marie Grace Uwingabiye, Guest Liaison, Singita Lodge Musanze.
Marie Grace is currently studying Hotel Administration at Cornell University as part of Hanga Ahazaza. She has been working in the hospitality industry for six years and is looking to upgrade her skills.
“Some people do not understand the extent and magnitude of how wide and diverse the hotel industry is. There are several opportunities that exist, but people do not know about them. There are several opportunities to experience work in different environments and countries – even within the same hotel chain.
I believe that the hotel and hospitality sector is the right place for me to grow. I want to excel in sales and make as much money as I can. I have always dreamed about traveling and working in different countries. I encourage youth to have a mindset for continuous learning, to take up the opportunities that are available, work hard, and be persistent in what you do so that you can excel.”
Nino Nzamwita, Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Kigali Marriott Hotel.
“I made a decision from the start that my unique career choice would not become a hindrance in my life, but rather an opportunity to create awareness about how capable, skilled, and knowledgeable women can be in any field.
I share my story to inspire young minds to overcome the negative perceptions that have been ingrained in society and culture about the tourism industry. I also encourage young girls to avoid accepting limiting mindsets and instead do what they love. Young people need to hear the success stories of young women who have started businesses, become mothers, and advanced their careers while retaining their commitment and passion to stay in the industry.”
Annie Anuarithe, Tour Guide Driver.
Annie speaks at Hanga Ahazaza events in partnership with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. She shares her experiences and advice with young Rwandans interested in the hospitality and tourism sector.
“I have always dreamed of working in the hospitality industry, and I am currently living my dream to become an international human resources manager. I believe I belong in the generation of young Rwandans who will build their own future in the international hotel and tourism industry.”
Diane Mahoro, Student, Vatel Rwanda: Diane is pursuing a Bachelor in International Hotel Management at Vatel Rwanda.
As part of Hanga Ahazaza, Vatel Rwanda is providing internationally recognized degree programs in hotel management for young people interested in a career in the hospitality industry.
“For me entrepreneurship has shown me that the sky’s the limit. Whatever it is that I want to do, I can do it if I have the right tools. If I build the right team, if I seek the right counsel from people, because I think it’s so important to have mentors. There are more people who are entering into the industry, and my advice is don’t get discouraged, it’s the beginning. But part of the joy is to be there, as it’s coming along.
So, I’m personally excited, because I know how far we’ve come. We want to position ourselves as a luxury destination. And in order for that to happen, everything else has to follow. Not just the hotel industry, but restaurants, bars, entertainment. And I look forward to seeing the transformation, and the growth.”
Nicole Ansoni, Owner of Inka Steakhouse and GotBuns.
Nicole is a participant of African Management Initiative’s (AMI) “Grow Your Business” program as part of Hanga Ahazaza. Under this initiative, AMI is supporting entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality sector to drive growth in their businesses and create employment opportunities.
Daniel Nishimwe is Chairman and Founder of ACOFREGCO, a cooperative of tour guides with Akagera Park. He noticed that visitors to Akagera wanted to do more outside of the park and learn about local culture. So, he got a group of young tour guides together and offered several cultural tours, including farming and beekeeping. He has also started a bush camp, a place where visitors can stay overnight and enjoy delicious food, just outside of the park. Through these activities, his cooperative employs 32 guides, one driver, and six staff at the camp, including a chef, receptionist, account controller, housekeeper, and two guards.
Daniel’s business has been supported by Inkomoko. They have assisted him in developing a business plan and a website as well as providing the cooperative with a loan which they used to purchase a minibus and tents for the camp. This loan was critical to keep his business afloat.
As part of the Mastercard Foundation Hanga Ahazaza initiative, Inkomoko offers a tourism and hospitality services package to support a total of 270 businesses in Rwanda with operations, accounting, customer service, and licensing at a discounted rate.
“Hospitality and tourism is an opportunity for young people, since it’s sort of an untapped market. There’s so many opportunities for people to, let’s say, become tour guides, or waitresses, or start a small food company just like me… And because the market is still young, and there’s still a bit of a gap in terms of customer service, whichever person decides to bring as a better service has an opportunity to stand out. So, it’s all about trying to do better, and then you are able to create opportunities for yourself and others.”
Pearl Umuhoza, Founder, Yummy-n-fresh.
Pearl is a participant of African Management Initiative’s (AMI) “Grow Your Business” Program as part of Hanga Ahazaza. AMI is supporting entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality sector to drive growth in their businesses and create employment opportunities.